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Friday, August 18, 2017

Former President Barack Obama Shows Leadership



With three simple tweets, former President Barack Obama gave Americans across the spectrum, and people around the world, what they longed for in the face of the Charlottesville tragedy: wisdom, sanity, compassion, leadership.

It's been distressing to watch how the current administration has laid siege to everything that the best of America stands for and all the progress made by Barack and Michelle Obama and Obama's administration. When this couple were in the White House it was a place of knowledge, experience, respect, dignity, wisdom, inclusion, joy, exuberance, celebration of life and of people from every walk of life.

The shock of the election result wore off quickly, leaving grief, outrage and determination to preserve values without which no society can exist for long without imploding. The resistance, from Democratic politicians, citizens, academia and the liberal media, has been valiant and successful. But the constant deluge of scandals, back-biting, lies—scum of the earth stuff—has been exhausting to witness. It's hard to resist the idea that social progress in the US is being swamped and that everything the Obamas worked towards, every battle fought and won over the years for Civil Rights, equality and justice has been lost.

But the truth is that in the battle between Good and evil, so well illustrated by Charlottesville, and Donald Trump equating white supremacists and Nazi supporters to counter-protesters, Good has triumphed as Republicans, Democrats and world leaders condemned the president's support of what has been recognized as evil for a long time now.  Nobody but Mr. Trump believes these people have a place at the table. Nobody but Mike Pence has stood with Trump.

Good can seem fragile in this battle, when overshadowed by monstrous forces, but in truth it has roots sinking deep into the human psyche, into societies. And that gives it, ultimately, much greater power.

America's social progress hasn't ever been a smooth journey. But it's been a real one with real successes. They, and the achievements of Barack Obama and his administration have been assailed, but not dismantled in a way that can't be fixed, even though the government is entirely GOP-controlled. Republicans are at war with each other and their constituents, and the 2018 mid-terms loom. The Trump administration has bully power but nothing else and it is disintegrating at the speed of light, as is the president, by all accounts. Out of control, still obsessed with his campaign, he's been firing people at random when they get more attention than him or displease him, creating such havoc that nobody wants to work for him.

Now he's fired Steve Bannon, who has gone back to Breitbart News, thrilled at the prospect of war with the administration. Or so he says, as reported by The New York Post.  

The president's support base is reportedly shrinking, but former president Barack Obama's tweets about Charlottesville broke the record for the most Twitter likes. That's a pretty direct poll. And he's not getting any press coverage these days. There's power in the man, the kind that lasts because it has love and integrity as a foundation; it's the kind that rewards and builds.

In this existential battle in America—one that all of us can relate to in some way or another in our lives—Good has trodden and is still treading a steady path towards victory. It will come and then we'll see that social progress is not destructible by evil.